BBC Radio Merseyside, still the most popular regional radio station in the UK, launched on 22nd November 1967. Debbie Greenberg remembers:
On 22nd November 1967, the Cavern hosted the launch party of BBC Radio Merseyside on the Mersey ferry, Royal Daffodil. The boat sailed at noon from the Pier Head. Dad (Cavern owner Alf Geoghegan) was the first person to be interviewed on Radio Merseyside by Keith Macklin.
An icy wind was blowing as we sat shivering on a wooden seat on the ferry’s top deck. It was slightly warmer on the enclosed lower deck where Keith and DJ Tony Wolfe played sixties music. Local groups – the Detours, Excelles, Tremors and King Bees – entertained us with live music, as guests drank and danced to keep warm.
Author Joyce Isaacson shares a glimpse into her fascinating book, based on the story of the band, Badfinger.
The Pink Panther? Peter Sellers?
What can possibly be in Heaven now? Will the Pink Panther strike again? Yes, this segment of Wish You Were Here: Heavenly Encounters was inspired by Peter Sellers. Also, this segment is inspired by Tom Evans, Pete Ham, Mal Evans and the Beatles.
“I’m so charged, I don’t feel I need to go home,” I told meself flying to Level Four. “I’m going to visit an old friend.” First, I meditated on the house. Nobody is home? I never see this in Heaven. I knocked as loud as I could.
The door opened.
I wanted to blurt out what I witnessed, but…
“Hi, Paul. A friend and I went to the park where you perform. How come we didn’t see you there?”
Paul Buyers wore a smoking jacket and a white scarf wrapped around his neck. Hmm. I remember the first time I met him in Heaven years ago. He had paintings he created of all his wives doing different household chores. I also recall that I convinced him to leave his house for a more a more lucrative venture doing Shakespeare in the park.
“Please, come in.”
We sat on his cloth-checkered couch.
“I haven’t even put the show together yet.”
“Why? You’re the master of comedy, I know.”
“Let me show you. If you come this way.”
I followed Paul into one of his bedrooms. Me mouth was agape because I couldn’t believe what I saw. “Blimey! I’m surprised! I see videotapes in boxes and a decent twenty-eight-inch TV and finally a VCR. When did you get all the VHS stuff?”
“A couple of months back.”
“What do they have?”
“I got all kinds of movies at this place called Video Unlimited; you won’t see them anywhere else. Let me put one in the telly.”
“Does it show actual programs from Earth?”
“No, just recorded things.”
I sat on a chair as Paul pressed the play button. I don’t dare tell Paul about me angel telly since Gabriel only picked a select few for me to tell.
The program came on. Right away, Duck Broth.
“Yes, the Larks Brothers at their finest, Tomas.”
“So this is what you have been doing instead of your show at the park?” Me eyes stared at the screen.
“Don’t worry, my boy, inspiration comes in many ways.”
“I hope you’re right.” What will Gabriel think of me watching the telly? Will he come back? I can’t believe Paul and I are watching a tape that Paul owns while looking at the TV screen. The funny part is, I don’t need me tea break on Level Four. While watching, the laughs unfolded.
“This is a new, interesting situation. Where on your level can I find this place, Paul?”
“After the movie, I will take you.”
I reached into me pocket and pulled out some gold coins. “How much do they cost, besides the telly and the VCR?”
“The gold coins in your hand will cover it.”
I put the coins back in me pocket and put the gem in me hand, lighting up the whole room. Wow, it even makes the telly look dull.
“Put whatever it is away,” Paul said, a bit annoyed. “I had never seen a stone that bright before. What incarnation was that?” Paul asked as he paused the tape.
“It’s a stone. I picked it up on a beach on Level Five. It’s brighter than a diamond. I wanted to make it a necklace. The jeweler said it can’t be cut. Sometimes, I think it resembles the jewel in the movie Rescue. There’s more to the story. We should watch the tapes. It will help you find material for the one-man show at the park.”
“Can I see that diamond again?” Paul Buyers asked me before we left his house to go to the Unlimited Video.
“Sure.” I took the stone out of me pocket again. “It isn’t a diamond, although, it sure shines like one and/or more. I’m told it is some kind of brilliance stone from somewhere around the Garden of Eden.”
Paul put his face near the rock. “You know, you could fetch some pretty pounds for this, Tomas.”
“Even though I almost bloody well tripped on this stone, I don’t want to sell it. I’ve grown very comfortable with it.”
Paul stood up. “It sounds reminds me of the gem in The Pink Tiger.”
“Yes, I remember the movie.”
“Quite.” Paul made a small grunting noise.
I put the stone back in me back-left pocket.
“Shall we go, Tomas?”
“You know the directions; you lead the way.”
Instead of flying, we walked to Level Four. I remember, Al Alvers, a friend of The Silver Crickets. He produced Str8Up’s first album and is on me level, and I have not seen him in a while. I didn’t include him in me rock finding and, of course, I was stuck in that cave for three months. He must think I fell off the face of Heaven. Maybe he is just busy producing groups.”
“You’re kind of quiet, me friend. Is all this overwhelming you?”
“Oh, I was just thinking about a friend I haven’t talk to in a while.”
“Oh, you mean Paul Lamb.”
“That’s always on me mind, Paul, but I was thinking about Al Avers.” I told Paul what happened with Paul Lamb.
You have to think positive. Heaven can surprise you. Well, we are almost there.”
I can’t believe this is happening. Can this be true, videotapes in Heaven? Can Paul Lamb be there?”
The Beatles’ famous appearance on the Royal Command Performance took place at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Coventry Street, London, on 4th November 1963. This is an annual charity event, which is always attended by at least one member of the Royal Family. For this concert the Royals were the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret. These performances are very high-class occasions with extremely expensive tickets.
It was in front of this distinguished audience that John made his famous comment: “For our next number I’d like to ask for your help. Will those in the cheaper seats clap your hands? The rest of you just rattle your jewellery!”
It sounded like an impromptu joke, but in a later interview John Lennon said that the Beatles actually worked it out the day before the show – so this was a well thought out comment! However, John told Brian he was going to tell the crowd to rattle their f***ing jewellery. If John had used that word in front of the Royals it would have been the end of the Beatles career!
Luckily, John’s comment did not outrage the Royals; after the show the Queen Mother asked Paul McCartney where they were playing next. Paul said they were playing Slough. The Queen Mother was delighted and said, “Ah, that’s near us!” Windsor Castle, a royal residence, is just down the road from Slough. She did not go to the concert though.
The Beatles were asked to perform on the show many times after this – but always refused. As John Lennon said in the Beatles Anthology book:
“We managed to refuse all sorts of things that people don’t know about. We did the Royal Variety Show, and we were asked discreetly to do it every year after that, but we always said, ‘Stuff it.’ So every year there was a story in the newspapers: ‘Why no Beatles for the Queen?’ which was pretty funny, because they didn’t know we’d refused. That show’s a bad gig, anyway. Everybody’s very nervous and uptight and nobody performs well. The time we did do it, I cracked a joke on stage. I was fantastically nervous, but I wanted to say something to rebel a bit, and that was the best I could do.”